Class Paper- Research Exercises

Topic 2: Legal Research – Koowarta v BjelkePetersen                                                

  1. This was a landmark case that was decided by the High Court of Australia
  2. The citation (1982) 153 CLR 168 is a standard legal citation according to the Australian Guide to Legal Citation  where (1982) represent the year of publication, 153 is the volume number that contains the law report, CLR is  law report abbreviation (Commonwealth Law Reports), and, 168 is the beginning page number. Round brackets enclosing the year of publication indicate that the case can be found in the volume represented by the volume number in the citation.
  3.  The facts of the case were that, in 1976, John Koowarta entered into an agreement with the Aboriginal Land Fund Commission to purchase a lease of land in Northern Queensland. The Aboriginal intended to use the land for pastoral farming. The Queensland National Party government had a policy restricting Aboriginals buying leasehold land, and, thus refused to facilitate the lease.
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    • There are seven Justices including the Chief Justice in the High Court of Australia. The appointment of justices to the High Court is guided by the section 72 of the Constitution.  According to the High Court website, the Justices are appointed by the Governor-general in Council and can not be removed except by the governor-general in Council on an address from both houses of the Parliament in the same session, praying for such removal on the grounds of proved misbehaviour or incapacity ( The Justices retire at the age of 70 years.


    Corcaran, John, understanding the Australian Legal System (National Library of Australia, 6th ed, 2010)

    Dolezalek, G.R. (1989). “Stare decisis”: persuasive force of precedent and old authority (12th-20th century). New York: Cengage Learning.

    Federal Court of Australia (2012) The Court. Retrieved on March 24, 2012 from

    Melbourne University Law Review Association, Australian Guide to legal Citation (Melbourne University Law Review Association 3rd ed, 2010)

    Monash University, Authorised Law Reports (28 March 2011), Library of Monash University <>

    O’Neill, N et al. (2004). Retreat from injustice: human rights law in Australia. Sidney: Federation Press. Xxxxx 30

    The High Court of Australia. (2012). About the Justices. Retrieved on March 24, 2012 from:


    Koowarta v BjelkePetersen (1982) 153 CLR 168

    Mutual Life and Citizens’ Assurance Co Ltd v Evatt [1968] HCA 74; (1968) 122 CLR 556 (11 November 1968)


    Racial Discrimination Act 1975